As MRI Technologists, we have the unique distinction of doing life in an area under
constant surveillance. Controlled Access is a really nice way to describe the tedious and not so general
clearance processes to gain entry into our environment.
MRI Safety has become the “hot topic” yet this is an ever growing concern
complicated by the rapid advancement of technology which in turn increases the
potential for more risk.
We cannot afford to permit our thinking to simply be limited to the MRI “Scanner”.
There are so many things to consider, the magnetic field strength,
the gradient slew rate, the fringe fields, RF fields, implanted
devices, patient history, ancillary equipment, supporting staff
from other departments and the list goes onnnnnnnnnn........
All of these things and the collaboration of them dictate the
criteria by which access can be gained. The way we think and
approach our daily tasks must be realigned and intentional.
It’s so easy to have a false sense of security when it comes to breaches in our MRI suites. The truth is, as we become acclimated to the environment, we settle into a place of familiarity and subconsciously take for granted the magnetic field, its strength and the repercussions thereof. A major contributing factor to this is, we seldom hear about “near misses”.
For example, when’s the last time
you heard about a
patients spouse who
despite being diligently
screened by the
technologist made it into
the scan room with his
service revolver strapped to his ankle and as a result suddenly affixed to the side of the magnet ?
How about the MR
compatible pulse oximeter
whose AC plug was sucked
into the magnet as the
technologist walked by the
bore to plug it in?
“As technologists, we
simply cannot afford
to be the weakest link
in the chain of access
to our environments.”
Lisa S. McKenzie, RT, (R)(MR)
Unfortunately, we only hear about the catastrophic incidences, the fatal ones while these sorts of things are happening more frequently than most of us are aware.
MRI Technologists often fall into the precarious place of juggling schedules, emergencies, V.I.P. add ons and the like.....the plethora of realities that oppose us like high energy nuclei opposing the magnetic field - presented in the form of obstacles, that make even the most seasoned Technologist vulnerable.
As “gatekeepers”, we are the last clearance check before gaining access to the MRI environment and we simply cannot afford to be the weakest link.